Rap mogul 'Suge' Knight arrested for fatal LA hit-and-run

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

55 PHOTOS
Suge Knight -- updated 3/19
See Gallery
Rap mogul 'Suge' Knight arrested for fatal LA hit-and-run
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 09: Marion 'Suge' Knight appears for a hearing at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center March 9, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The hearing was scheduled to determine if the two criminal cases against Knight, one for murder and attempted murder when Knight allegedly ran over two men in a Compton parking lot after an argument and another case involving an alleged robbery and criminal threats to a photographer in Beverly Hills, should be moved to the downtown Los Angeles courthouse. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Marion 'Suge' Knight and his lawyer David E Kenner, front, attend court at the Criminal Courts Building on March 2, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The hearing was scheduled to determine if the two criminal cases against Knight, one for murder and attempted murder when Knight allegedly ran over two men in a Compton parking lot after an argument and another case involving an alleged robbery and criminal threats to a photographer in Beverly Hills, should be moved to the downtown Los Angeles courthouse. (Photo by Mark Boster-Pool/Getty Images)
COMPTON, CA - FEBRUARY 09: Marion 'Suge' Knight attends Compton Court House for his bail hearing with his lawyers David Kenner (L) and Brett Greenfield at Compton Courthouse on February 9, 2015 in Compton, California. Knight will remain in jail until his next hearing. Knight is charged with murder and attempted murder after a hit-and-run incident following an argument in a parking lot on January 29. (Photo by Robyn Beck-Pool/Getty Images)
Death Row Records founder Suge Knight leaves the courtroom after his arraignment, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in Compton, Calif. Knight, 49, pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and other charges after being accused of striking two men with his truck last week. (AP Photo/Paul Buck, Pool)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 09: Marion 'Suge' Knight appears at Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center March 9, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The hearing was scheduled to determine if the two criminal cases against Knight, one for murder and attempted murder when Knight allegedly ran over two men in a Compton parking lot after an argument and another case involving an alleged robbery and criminal threats to a photographer in Beverly Hills, should be moved to the downtown Los Angeles courthouse. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 19: Lawyers representing Marion 'Suge' Knight Brett Greenfield (L) and David E Kenner stand during a court appearance for Marion 'Suge' Knight and Katt Williams at the Airport Branch Courthouse on February 19, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Knight was scheduled to be arraigned on felony charges stemming from alleged criminal threats and robbery of a camera from a photographer in September in Beverly Hills. (Photo by Nick Ut-Pool/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 09: Marion 'Suge' Knight (C) escorted by Los Angeles Sheriff Deputies after appearing for a hearing at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center March 9, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The hearing was scheduled to determine if the two criminal cases against Knight, one for murder and attempted murder when Knight allegedly ran over two men in a Compton parking lot after an argument and another case involving an alleged robbery and criminal threats to a photographer in Beverly Hills, should be moved to the downtown Los Angeles courthouse. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 09: Marion 'Suge' Knight appears at Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center March 9, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The hearing was scheduled to determine if the two criminal cases against Knight, one for murder and attempted murder when Knight allegedly ran over two men in a Compton parking lot after an argument and another case involving an alleged robbery and criminal threats to a photographer in Beverly Hills, should be moved to the downtown Los Angeles courthouse. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
COMPTON, CA - FEBRUARY 09: Marion 'Suge' Knight attends Compton Court House for his bail hearing with his lawyers David Kenner (L) and Brett Greenfield at Compton Courthouse on February 9, 2015 in Compton, California. Knight will remain in jail until his next hearing. Knight is charged with murder and attempted murder after a hit-and-run incident following an argument in a parking lot on January 29. (Photo by Robyn Beck-Pool/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Marion 'Suge' Knight and his lawyer David E Kenner, front, attend court at the Criminal Courts Building on March 2, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The hearing was scheduled to determine if the two criminal cases against Knight, one for murder and attempted murder when Knight allegedly ran over two men in a Compton parking lot after an argument and another case involving an alleged robbery and criminal threats to a photographer in Beverly Hills, should be moved to the downtown Los Angeles courthouse. (Photo by Mark Boster-Pool/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Marion 'Suge' Knight attends court at the Criminal Courts Building on March 2, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The hearing was scheduled to determine if the two criminal cases against Knight, one for murder and attempted murder when Knight allegedly ran over two men in a Compton parking lot after an argument and another case involving an alleged robbery and criminal threats to a photographer in Beverly Hills, should be moved to the downtown Los Angeles courthouse. (Photo by Mark Boster-Pool/Getty Images)
In a brief court appearance Monday Suge Knight said he fired the lawyers handling his murder case. Speaking on his own behalf, he told the judge he's received poor medical treatment while in jail and that he's going blind. His case was transferred to another judge, but Knight had to leave early to receive more treatment. It's the third time he's gone straight from court to the hospital.
Marion "Suge" Knight appears in court during his arraignment , Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 in Compton, Calif. Knight, 49, pleaded not guilty on to murder, attempted murder and other charges filed after he struck two men with his truck last week. (AP Photo/Paul Buck, Pool)
Marion "Suge" Knight joined by his attorney David Kenner, left, during his arraignment, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in Compton, Calif. Knight, 49, pleaded not guilty on to murder, attempted murder and other charges filed after he struck two men with his truck last week. (AP Photo/Paul Buck, Pool)
Marion "Suge" Knight, right, is joined by his attorney David Kenner, left, during his arraignment, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 in Compton, Calif. Knight, 49, pleaded not guilty on to murder, attempted murder and other charges filed after he struck two men with his truck last week. (AP Photo/Paul Buck, Pool)
This image from video shows Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight, right, walking into the Los Angeles County Sheriffs department early Friday morning Jan. 30, 2015 in connection with a hit-and-run incident that left one man dead and another injured. (AP Photo/OnSceneVideo via AP Television)
This image from video shows Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight, right, walking into the Los Angeles County Sheriffs department early Friday morning Jan. 30, 2015 in connection with a hit-and-run incident that left one man dead and another injured. Man at left is an unidentified police officer. (AP Photo/OnSceneVideo via AP Television)
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lt. John Corina arrives at a news brief at the scene of an accident in a parking lot in Compton, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. A lawyer for Marion "Suge" Knight, a Death Row Records founder, says Knight was driving a car involved in an accident. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
This image from video shows Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight, right, walking into the Los Angeles County Sheriffs department early Friday morning Jan. 30, 2015 in connection with a hit-and-run incident that left one man dead and another injured. (AP Photo/OnSceneVideo via AP Television)
Members of the community and media listen to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lt. John Corina, right, at a news brief at the scene of an accident at a parking lot in Compton, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. A lawyer for Marion "Suge" Knight, a Death Row Records founder, says Knight was driving a vehicle involved in an accident. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lt. John Corina speaks at a news brief at the scene of an accident in a parking lot in Compton, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. A lawyer for Marion "Suge" Knight, a Death Row Records founder, says Knight was driving a vehicle involved in an accident. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Los Angeles County Sheriffs close the scene of an accident in Compton, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. A lawyer for Marion "Suge" Knight, a Death Row Records founder, says Knight was driving a vehicle involved in an accident. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department photographer checks the scene of an accident at a parking lot in Compton, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. A lawyer for Marion "Suge" Knight, a Death Row Records founder, says Knight was driving a vehicle involved in an accident. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officer checks the scene of an accident at a parking lot in Compton, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. A lawyer for Marion "Suge" Knight, a Death Row Records founder, says Knight was driving a car involved in an accident. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigator photographs the scene of an accident at a parking lot in Compton, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. A lawyer for Marion "Suge" Knight, a Death Row Records founder, says Knight was driving a car involved in an accident. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigator photographs the scene of an accident at a parking lot in Compton, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. A lawyer for Marion "Suge" Knight, a Death Row Records founder, says Knight was driving a car involved in an accident. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigator photographs the scene of an accident at a parking lot in Compton, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. A lawyer for Marion "Suge" Knight, a Death Row Records founder, says Knight was driving a car involved in an accident. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight appears in court on a traffic warrant Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, in Las Vegas following his arrest as a fugitive in a California robbery case. Thursday's court appearance for the 49-year-old founder of Death Row Records stems from a suspended license charge in Las Vegas. Knight and comedian Katt Williams were arrested and charged with robbery Wednesday after a celebrity photographer reported the men stole her camera on Sept. 5 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/John Locher)
#BREAKINGNEWS: Suge Knight interviewed by homicide detectives in Compton fatal hit & run: http://t.co/0MnoV2Hwl7 http://t.co/PIoL4mHuKF
Suge Knight at the Shore Club in Miami, FL (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
FILE - This August 2008 file photo provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows rap music mogul Marion "Suge" Knight. Knight and two other people were injured by gunfire in at a West Hollywood nightclub early Sunday morning, Aug. 24, 2014, just hours before Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, File)
This Oct. 29, 2014 photo provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows Marion "Suge" Knight. Knight and comedian Katt Williams were arrested and charged with robbery Wednesday after a celebrity photographer reported the men stole her camera last month. Knight, arrested at a location in Las Vegas, has a prior conviction for assault with a deadly weapon and could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted. The men are accused of taking a paparazzo's camera in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sept. 5, 2014.. The incident remains under investigation by Beverly Hills police. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
** FILE ** In this June 24, 2003 file photo rap producer Marion "Suge" Knight watches the 3rd annual BET Awards in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles .Rap producer Marion "Suge" Knight has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery for beating a woman in a Las Vegas parking lot last year. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, file)
** FILE ** Rap music mogul Marion "Suge' Knight, wearing white top, walks out of the Los Angeles County jail in this Feb. 26, 2003, file photo in Los Angeles. Knight has been booked on suspicion of violating his parole after police in Barstow, Calif. say they found marijuana in his vehicle during a traffic stop. Knight was arrested about 7:30 Saturday, Feb. 5, 2005, and held by sheriff's officials pending his transfer next week to state prison. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Rap mogul Marion "Suge' Knight knocks on the window of a waiting taxi, as he leaves the Los Angeles County jail, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2003, in Los Angeles. A parole board ordered the release of Knight, who has been in jail since a Dec. 23 arrest for associating with gang members (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Rap music mogul Marion "Suge' Knight walks out of the Los Angeles County jail, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2003, in Los Angeles. A parole board ordered the release of Knight, who has been in jail since a Dec. 23 arrest for associating with gang members. The board on Tuesday dropped four of five charges against Knight and gave him credit for the 61 days he's spent in Los Angeles County jail. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
FILE--Death Row Records co-founder Marion "Suge" Knight appears in court for a bail review hearing in this Oct. 1996 file photo. Knight must answer questions about the label's finances when attorneys interview him in prison next month, Judge Gregory O'Brien ruled, Wednesday, July 2, 1997. Dick Griffey and Tracy Curry have filed a $75 million lawsuit against the company, claiming they were pushed out by Knight and rapper-producer Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
FILE - In this Aug. 15, 1996, file photo, rapper Tupac Shakur, left, and a founder of Death Row Records, Marion "Suge" Knight, attend a voter registration event in South Central Los Angeles. A lawyer for Knight says he was at the wheel of a car involved in an accident in a Los Angeles suburb. It occurred in Compton shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Frank Wiese, File)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 30: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Actress Felicia Cox, music producer Suge Knight, and actress Betsy Cox attend Posing Heroes, 'A Dog Day Afternoon' Benefiting A Wish For Animals on March 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 30: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Music producer Suge Knight attends Posing Heroes, 'A Dog Day Afternoon' Benefiting A Wish For Animals on March 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 30: Marion 'Suge' Knight is seen on April 30, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LAS VEGAS - AUGUST 23: Marion 'Suge' Knight attends the Dylan George and Abbot + Main Spring 2012 Launch and official PROJECT after party at Chateau Nightclub & Gardens on August 23, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS - MAY 03: Suge Knight portraits on May 3, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS - MAY 02: Suge Knight attends TAO Las Vegas Fight After Party at The Venetian Hotel and Casino Resort on May 2, 2009 on May 02, 2009 in Las Vegas (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS - FEBRUARY 17: Music producer Suge Knight attends the Belvedere Ultra Lounge Day 4 At Club OPM on February 17, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chad Buchanan/Getty Images for Moet USA)
SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 8: Suge Knight attends a Sacramento Kings game as they take on the Detroit Pistons on November 8, 2006 at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2006 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 8: Music producer Suge Knight watches the Detroit Pistons game against the Sacramento Kings on November 8, 2006 at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California. The Kings won 99-86. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2006 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Marion 'Suge' Knight and guests (Photo by Craig Durling/WireImage)
Suge Knight during 2005 MTV VMA - Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music Party in Association with Hennessy Paradis - Arrivals at Skybar at The Shoreclub in Miami Beach, Florida, United States. (Photo by Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic)
Kanye West and Suge Knight (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD - JUNE 28: Music Producer Suge Knight is seen in the audience during the BET Awards 05 at the Kodak Theatre on June 28, 2005 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 18: Music Producer Suge Knight (L) speaks at CBS Studios during a taping of 'The Late Late Show' on November 18, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. Suge Knight Gives his take on the incident at this week's Vibe Awards. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 18: Music Producer Suge Knight (L) and guest host D.L.Hughley appear at CBS Studios for a taping of 'The Late Late Show' on November 18, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. Suge Knight Gives his take on the incident at this week's Vibe Awards. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 18: Music producer Suge Knight (L) and guest host D.L.Hughley (R) appear at CBS Studios for a taping of 'The Late Late Show' November 18, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. Suge Knight gave his take on the incident at this week's Vibe Awards. The show will air November 19, 2004. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) -- Marion "Suge" Knight, the former music mogul who created one of hip-hop's leading labels and became the impresario of gangster rap, was arrested early Friday on suspicion of hitting and killing a man with his truck and fleeing the scene of the crash near Los Angeles.

Knight's attorney said the founder of Death Row Records accidentally ran over and killed a friend and injured another man Thursday as he tried to escape attackers. Witnesses told police an argument between the men escalated into Knight ramming the pair, then changing direction and ramming them a second time.

Authorities said he could face a murder charge.

The 49-year-old Knight, who has a long history of violent crimes, started the label that helped put West Coast rap on the map with the legendary group N.W.A., whose members included Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy E. The label also launched the career of Snoop Dogg and had Tupac Shakur in the last months of his life.

Many of the records Knight released helped immortalize Compton, the LA-area city where Thursday's crash occurred, in hip-hop folklore as a gritty and violent urban environment, although crime there has dipped significantly there since its 1990s peak.

He was arrested around 3 a.m. PST after turning himself in to authorities. He was being held on $2 million bail, said Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

A red pickup truck drove into the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant Thursday afternoon in Compton, and its driver started arguing with two people there, sheriff's officials said. The argument escalated, and the pickup struck the men around 3 p.m. and took off, according to authorities.

"Looks like he drove backwards and struck the victims and drove forwards and struck them again," sheriff's Lt. John Corina said. "The people we talked to say it looked like it was an intentional act."

A 55-year-old man died at a hospital, and a 51-year-old man was injured, but authorities did not immediately know his condition.

"To see the argument happen, it's one thing," said 17-year-old Robert Smith, who was eating in the restaurant. "Seeing the car incident, that was shocking."

Knight's attorney, James Blatt, said the crash was an accident.

"He was in the process of being physically assaulted by two men, and in an effort to escape, he unfortunately hit two (other) individuals," the lawyer said. "He was in his car trying to escape."

The empty truck was found late Thursday in a West Los Angeles parking lot. Knight was seen driving a red pickup truck 20 minutes earlier in a different part of town where a music video was being filmed, the lieutenant said.

Blatt said Knight's legal team was "confident that once the investigation is completed, he will be totally exonerated."

Knight founded Death Row Records in the 1990s but later declared bankruptcy, and the company was auctioned off.

He was at the center of one of the most notorious rap conflicts of that decade, pitting rappers Tupac Shakur against Biggie Smalls in an East Coast versus West Coast rivalry.

Knight was sent to prison for nearly five years for badly beating a rival with Shakur at a Las Vegas, Nevada, hotel, just hours before Shakur was fatally shot while riding in Knight's car just east of the Strip.

Smalls, whose real name was Chris Wallace, was shot to death in a similar attack six months later.

The history of Knight's run-ins with the law goes back more than 20 years and includes assault and weapons offenses.

In November, Knight pleaded not guilty to a robbery charge filed over an incident in which a celebrity photographer accused him of stealing her camera in Beverly Hills. Because of prior convictions, he could face up to 30 years in prison.

He has felony convictions for armed robbery and assault with a gun. He pleaded no contest in 1995 to assaulting two rap entertainers at a Hollywood recording studio and was sentenced to five years of probation.

He also served timed for probation violations.

Last August, Knight was shot six times at a Los Angeles nightclub. No arrests have been made.


More on AOL.com:
Entire village encrusted with ice after blizzard
Report: Suge Knight driver in fatal hit and run
Keystone clears major hurdle in the Senate

Read Full Story

People are Reading